News comes out of California that a Ventura County Judge ruled that the parents of Lawrence King, the young boy who was shot twice in the head by his homophobic classmate early last year, can sue his foster home, Casa Pacifica, for negligence. His parents and the judge believe that there is just cause that the foster home counseling and allowing King to express his sexuality and gender identity via make-up and high heel shoes endangered the child and led to his death.
I am so utterly stunned that I am too shocked to be outraged. Yes... Lawrence King was shot multiple times because of something he did. That is essentially what the judge has ruled.
I find it very unfortunate that King's parents want to turn their grief over their son's death into an attack on possibly some of the few people in Lawrence's life that made his life livable. Counseling Lawrence to learn how the express his sexuality and gender identity in a safe and positive way at a young age is no more dangerous than teaching a girl to study science, or an immigrant child to be proud of and share his cultural heritage. These identities are not inherently dangerous... what is dangerous is the savage way these identities of difference are policed by the mainstream culture.
To argue that teaching Lawrence to be himself is to also bring the threat of violence to the child is to say that Lawrence's self is the one that is dangerous. It is an implicit condoning of the hate-filled murder and condemnation of all queer and gender non-conforming people, children included.
But we have heard this same argument before: "If she didn't want to get raped, why did she wear that short skirt?" "What was she doing on the corner at 3am, anyway?" "He should have known better than to walk in that part of town."
These arguments not only deflect the blame on the rightful party, but place the responsibility of ensuring their safety via non-offensive existence on non-straight, non-white, and non-male persons.